Astronomers investigate jet kinematics of the blazar 4C+21.35

**Astronomers investigate jet kinematics of the blazar 4C+21.35
A 22 GHz KaVA image of 4C +21.35. Credit: Lee et al., 2019.

Using very-long-baseline-interferometry (VLBI), an international team of astronomers has conducted a kinematic study of a jet of the blazar 4C+21.35. The research, presented in a paper published April 5 on the arXiv pre-print repository, sheds more light on the nature of this quasar and its jet.

Blazars are very compact quasars associated with supermassive black holes at the centers of active, giant elliptical galaxies. Based on their optical emission properties, astronomers divide blazars into two classes: flat-spectrum radio quasars (FSRQs) that feature prominent and broad optical emission lines, and BL Lacertae objects (BL Lacs), which do not.

In general, blazars belong to a larger group of active galaxies that host (AGN), and their characteristic features are relativistic jets pointed almost exactly toward the Earth. However, the detailed mechanisms of ejection and collimation of jets are still poorly understood, and more studies of this phenomenon are required to improve our knowledge on the subject.

At a redshift of 0.433, the blazar 4C+21.35, also known as PKS 1222+216, is a nearby very-high-energy (VHE) flat-spectrum radio quasar. Previous studies have revealed that the object exhibits super-luminal apparent jet motions with apparent speeds ranging from three to 25 times greater than the speed of light (c) at milliarcsecond scales. Observations of this source also detected three gamma-ray flares—two occured in 2010 and one in 2014.

A group of astronomers led by Taeseok Lee of Seoul National University, South Korea, decided to observe 4C+21.35 using the Korean VLBI Network (KVN) and VLBI Exploration of Radio Astrometry (VERA) array (KaVA). The aim of this observational campaign was to characterize in detail the kinematics of the and to investigate the connection between kinematics and gamma-ray activity in this object.

"Since 4C+21.35 shows ongoing vigorous γ-ray activity and blazars are famous for their fast variability, persistent and frequent monitoring of the source structure is essential. We therefore studied the kinematics of the jet of 4C+21.3 with bi-weekly radio interferometric mapping observations, providing an unprecedented density of data," the astronomers wrote in the paper.

KaVA observations between mid-2014 and mid-2016 have revealed that at 22 GHz, 4C+21.35 has a compact straight jet, uncovering three components in the inner jet and two in the blob. All the jet components show linear outward motion—the further from the core, the faster they move, with apparent speeds reaching 14.4 c.

The researchers found a connection between the innermost component that became visible in early 2016 and the gamma-ray flare spotted in November 2014. They report that the timing of the ejection of the new component is consistent with this flare.

"Extrapolating the position of the newly emerged component (component C in Figure1) back to zero distance from the core suggests an ejection in 2014.5 ± 3.4, assuming a constant component speed, consistent with the peak time of the mid-November 2014 γ-ray flare," the paper reads.

Furthermore, KaVA observations at 43 GHz detected four inner jet components with apparent speeds from 3.5 to 6.8 c. However, when compared to the results from previous studies, the newly calculated apparent speeds turned out to be about 50 percent lower.

According to the authors of the paper, this "loss of speed" could be a consequence of the fact that an AGN jet is not a group of discrete, point-like sources, but a complex continuous distribution of matter. They added that the discrepancy in the result could be also due temporal undersampling, which often leads to misidentification of components or overestimation of apparent jet speeds.

All in all, the study highlights the importance of high cadence observations in order to avoid misunderstanding the jet kinematics.


Explore further

Fast, very high-energy gamma-ray flare detected from the blazar BL Lacertae

More information: Taeseok Lee et al. Jet Kinematics of the Quasar 4C +21.35 from Observations with the KaVA Very Long Baseline Interferometry Array. arXiv:1904.02894 [astro-ph.GA]. arxiv.org/abs/1904.02894

© 2019 Science X Network

Citation: Astronomers investigate jet kinematics of the blazar 4C+21.35 (2019, April 15) retrieved 22 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-04-astronomers-jet-kinematics-blazar-4c2135.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
132 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Apr 15, 2019
"...apparent speeds ranging from three to 25 times greater than the speed of light (c)"

I found this explanation here: https://en.wikive.../Quasars under "Relativistic jets"

"Our present understanding is that this 'superluminal motion' occurs when these clouds move towards Earth at speeds very close to that of light, in this case, more than 98 percent of the speed of light. At these speeds the clouds nearly keep pace with the light they emit as they move towards Earth, so when the light finally reaches us, the motion appears much more rapid than the speed of light. Since the moving clouds travel slightly slower than the speed of light, they do not actually violate Einstein's theory of relativity which sets light as the speed limit."

Apr 15, 2019
Outflows are ubiquitous in astrophysics. Despite different sizes, velocity and amount of transported energy, luminosity and degree of collimation, they have obvious morphological similarities. However, what is important for us, there is the picture of the outflows from everywhere and none of inflows into somewhere. That is an obvious asymmetry. There is no universal mechanism that can explain the origin of all these jets and outflows. There is no consensus about the exact ejection mechanism. The situation is even more severe, for in many cases researchers do not understand what constitutes content of the jets. Is it atomic, molecular or ionic gas, relativistic electrons or protons, or even electron-positron plasma? In this paper we have an opportunity to build a unified model of jets and outflows in the frame of our model [1, 2].
https://www.acade...and_Jets

Apr 16, 2019
In this paper we have an opportunity........


Not a paper. Just a bunch of junk uploaded to the internet. No peer-review = rubbish.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more